Leading Writers Feature in a Fortnight of Future-thinking at Going West Writers Festival

New Zealand’s leading authors, poets, playwrights and musicians offer audiences a fortnight of fresh ideas, future-thinking, language and laughter at the 23rd Going West Writers Festival 1-16 September.

The Festival Weekend’s Opening Night, voted By Metro as Best in Auckland last year, features the first New Zealand performance by Tu, the multimedia collaboration of musician Moana Maniapoto and electronic music producer Paddy Free, award-winning novelist Paula  Morris and acclaimed West Auckland poet Serie Barford.

Festival Programme Director Nicola Strawbridge says this year’s opening night line-up will be every bit as wonderful as last year’s acclaimed, sell out, event.

“Moana Maniapoto is one of this country’s music legends and Paddy Free is in demand by music festivals world-wide. We are thrilled to host Tu, who have performed with great success in Finland and Taiwan. Paula Morris and Serie Barford will bring their unique, powerful voices to the evening.”

Audiences will be treated through the weekend to national treasure Fiona Kidman talking about her latest novel, This Mortal Boy; musician, writer and activist Lizzie Marvelly talks about her new feminist book The F Word;. Steve Braunias interviews father and daughter powerhouses C.K. Stead and Charlotte Grimshaw; popular journalists Russell Brown and Toby Manhire hold a provocative discussion on where the digital word is taking us; Wellington poets Chris Tse, Anna Jackson and Helen Heath join us; psychology professor and activist Niki Harré invites us to imagine our world anew; Scotty and Stacey Morrison korero about learning te reo with Guyon Espiner; Dr Jo Cribb and Vincent Heeringa wrestle robots, discussing what we should celebrate and what we should be concerned about in our ever-changing technological future; novelist and memoirist Peter Wells talks to award-winning writer Stephanie Johnson  about his work, Dear Oliver and the view it gives of the history of Pākehā New Zealanders; journalist and researcher Brad Haami explores the impact of the second major Māori migration, some 800 years after the original waka made landfall in Aotearoa and much more!

“This year is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a world of stories and ideas with fellow lovers of literature, learning and language,” says Festival director Nicola Strawbridge.

“Come and celebrate the power of words with us! They carry our history, and spread ideas about how tomorrow might look. We are thrilled to present you with many of Aotearoa New Zealand’s finest writers, discussing the things that matter, the issues we’re grappling with and the stories of who we’ve been and who we might be.”

The Festival is proud to announce year one of a partnership with AUT’s Centre for Creative Writing.

Going West Festival Trust Chair, Naomi McCleary, says this initiative will create opportunities and connections for new writers.

“AUT’s support is an exciting development; entirely in tune with what Going West has always been about; the celebration of the writers of Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Going West wouldn’t be going anywhere without the legendary Going West Poetry Slam. It’s where the best stand-up poets lay it on the line. Come and see who has got the chops to rise to the top on Saturday 8 September! MC’d by Ken Arkind and Carrie Rudzinski, there are handsome cash prizes to be won.

In partnership with Te Pou, award-winning playwright, Albert Belz’s theatre work, Cradle Song premiers at the Festival on 5 September.

Set in the South West of Ireland in 1999, at a nunnery near the fictitious village of Sibeal (County Kerry), two young women are on their big OE when they come face-to-face with the super-natural force of Briar Faith. Briar Faith is Belz’s reaction to the tragic discovery of a mass children’s grave, which was part of a home for unmarried mothers in the township of Tuam (County Galway).

“I was angered by such a total disregard of human life by the government and church of the time. A tragic tale began to take the form of an avenging wraith,” says Belz.

Anyone who has a sister, mother, grandmother or daughter will want to see Sightings, A Massive Company production directed by Kura Forrester and Sam Scott on Friday 7 September.  This contemporary and gutsy piece of youth theatre will take you on a strangely familiar journey. How do you measure a life? The characters in this play are figuring out how to carve out their own existence, whilst unwittingly offering clues for others as they travel their path.

Rising stars of the spoken word take to the stage on Friday 7 September with the Word Up! Grand Finale. This spoken and lyrical word competition for 13-21 year olds offers audiences a unique opportunity to hear talented young people presenting their powerful, original work in rap, poetry, song or comedy form.

In association with Flicks Titirangi, Going West presents a selection of NZ Shorts handpicked from the International Film Festival and DocNZ, on Thursday 13 September. Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery’s Learning Centre will hold an Indie Book Fair: a thriving showcase of zines, handmade books and limited-edition publications on Sunday 16 September.

The full Going West Books and Writers Festival programme will be online at www.goingwestfest.co.nz from July 20. For tickets go to: www.iticket.co.nz or  phone 09 361 1000.

The Festival is grateful for support from the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, Creative New Zealand, Metro, AUT, Avanda Group, The Trusts Community Foundation, Foundation North and the Douglas Family Trust.


Key dates:

20 July                         Going West Books and Writers Festival LAUNCH


3 August                       END OF EARLY BIRD PRICING. Regular ticket pricing begins.

7 September                Sightings.  Massive Company. Glen Eden Playhouse

7 September                Word Up! Grand Finale. Corban Estate Arts Centre

5-8 September             Cradle Song. Te Pou. Corban Estate Arts Centre

8 September                Going West Poetry Slam. Glen Eden Playhouse

13 September              NZ Short Films. Titirangi Theatre

14-16 September         Going West Writers Festival weekend. Titirangi War Memorial Hall

16 September              Indie Book Fair. Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery

For further information and interview enquiries please contact: Penny Hartill hPR, 09 445 7525, 021 721 424, penny@hartillpr.co.nz

www.goingwestfest.co.nz                     www.facebook.com/goingwestfest